Vlog Roll

Part of me wanted to have this blog be just the video, so that it could speak for itself but i guess some context is required. After watching the video back I began to critique myself very harshly, but in doing so, experienced the very kind of self-criticism Wesch and his class experienced. So despite my want to preface this with an apology about rambling or the length of the video, I am instead going to let the video speak for itself. Enjoy.

 

StoryCorps TED Talk

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Tricking Kids

This week, I decided to do things a little differently. Previously, my blogs would focus on learning a new trick, commenting in where I learned it from, what i thought of the resource, and a goal for the following week.

However, this week i thought it was about time to try my hand at performing the few tricks I had learned for people who would give me honest criticism. Kids.

I work part-time as a substitute educational assistant for the Regina Public School Board, and so I saw this as the perfect opportunity to try out some of my highly refined illusions. To my surprise, the tricks were met with wonder (when they worked), and for the most part were met with positivity. In one classroom I worked in, performing the simple coin disappearing trick from my first blog served as a reward for getting questions done and done well. One student (who has a tough time with motivation) began showcasing their knowledge in order to get me to perform for them.

This experience has really touched my heart, because, as a future educator, the feeling of helping someone understand and succeed is a core reason as to why I entered the discipline. I wouldn’t have thought that there was a place for magic tricks in a classroom but, because of this learning project I am finding ways to use it.

I am now curious as to what other things this would apply to. What knowledge have we decided is important for students to learn and what have we deemed irrelevant. I am curious to see what other skills students are learning through this project that will also be useful for teaching.

Shorter blog this week, but perhaps my most meaningful one yet.

Not Exactly the Truffle Shuffle.

I walked into my third week of this project feeling really confident. I had played around with the tricks i was learning more and more, and even managed to fool some kids at a school I worked at this week.

While watching some magic tricks on youtube, I came across a move not designed to fool, simply to impress. The One handed shuffle. And so I began to practice. Again using a video by content creator 52Kards I began to practice, and practice, and practice some more. It became quickly apparent that this trick is for the more advanced learners, as i have picked up the equivalent of hundreds of cards as I try to learn. I am getting closer but am still miles away.

I am not disheartened, (the look on my face at the end of th GIF isn’t helping my case), but rather looking forward to the day that I can actually do this trick. I feel it will segway tricks together nicely, as well as give me a impression based advantage at card nights.

If I do ever compile a repertoire of magic tricks, I feel like this moment will serve as a landmark of my journey.

Well that wraps this one up, off to pick up more cards…

The Elusive Blue-Breasted Tweeter

Twitter has always been my achilles heel when it comes to social media. Before class use, I pretty much only used it for entering contests or submitting my name for giveaways. Though i feel i am getting better, there is much to learn.

I have yet to successfully participate in a twitter chat, but the concept intrigues me. After looking and reviewing some of the ones that have passed, my opinion on the format is mixed. On one hand, the medium allows for anyone and everyone to participate in a discussion, but on the other, it seems like many peoples voices get washed out.

I will be attempting to participate in the #EdChat tonight at 6 PM to see if more experience helps me understand the medium more.

After-thought: Do people use this format for discussions that are not ed related?

 

The Next Day:

After participating in the #Edchat on Tuesday night I have come to a few conclusions.

  1. Twitter chats are a nice way for people to share their opinions.
  2. A chat is only as successful as its moderation.
  3. Reasons why are far more prevalent than steps as to how.

I will participate in such a chat again but my expectations will be very different. at times it felt good, I even shared a few posts back and forth with some users, but at other times it felt like a full room of people with bullhorns.

I am interested to find other chats about education and other topics.

Curating the News

The year is 1999. The internet exists, but no one could possibly predict the grasp the internet would have on the daily lives of so many people on this little blue dot. Since the creation of the internet, the world has become smaller, much in the same way it did when postal services were built. Instant communication is now possible with peoples all around the planet. Face to face conversations can happen between family members and friends from the comfort of their home. Education classes can be taken online. But something else has come from the internet, a barrage of information.

I never really considered myself much of a news-watcher. I research when the moment calls for it, but prefer to let information come to me through my chosen medias. This week however, with Feedly, I have begun to enjoy news again. By being able to curate the types of things I see, the website allows me to share a closer relationship with the things i am reading. I find Twitter cumbersome, but Feedly has proven to be much more my speed.

On day one of using Feedly, i began by following pages and sources related to my career path, an education technology blog here, a social justice one there, TED-everything. All the things i figured were important for the class to which i was using the site for. But something changed on day 2.

Day two began much like any other homework focused day in that I reluctantly opened up all of the tabs and books that I would need, and then proceeded to goof around for 10 minutes. My primary hobby is Magic the Gathering (if you don’t know what that is, I would be more than happy to gush, but this isn’t the place for that), and so out of curiosity i decided to punch that into the search bar on Feedly. Not only was content available for Magic players, but many if not all of the resources I use for it were right there, in a nicely organized list. It was then that i really began to see the benefit of services like Feedly. Here, i was able to view everything i wanted to for work, social, and play without compromising one over the other. When i got tired of one, i could quickly take a break without becoming too distracted by other media pages.

One feed i really found to be cool and different in the world of education is the Discovery Education feed. On it, one can find everything from links to lesson ideas to current events related to education.

Edtech 4 Beginners is another great resource, laying out ways for beginners (like me) to start grasping using technology effectively in a classroom.

Above you can see the new “barrage” of information i have begun to bring upon myself. Education and its use of technology is an interest of mine, and having resources for it mixed in with resources for other parts of my life makes it very easy to get lost in (in a good way) as my mind wanders and I go down internet rabbit holes.

Cards, CARDS, CARDS!!!!

Cards are nothing new to me. As an avid Magic The Gathering player (a super nerdy, super awesome game, I highly recommend it), card shaped pieces of cardboard are in my hands more than the average person. That being said, my hands are far from dextrous, and so when I decided to learn the first piece of hundreds of card tricks, the Double Lift, I was wary of my ability to control my fingers.

I’ll begin with a brief description of the move. The Double Flip is a pretty standard move in which you make the audience believe you are taking one card, when you actually take two. This allows you to use one of those cards as a diversion while you manipulate the other one, usually having that one be the card chosen by your audience.

As with last week, I consulted Youtube to begin learning the move. This video by content creator 52Kards gave a great start to learning the trick effectively.

I noticed a few things immediately:

  1. Big fingers are not an asset, I found manipulating cards difficult due to the diameter of my fingers.
  2. Practice makes perfect, The video said that, while simple, this move would take awhile to learn. They were right.
  3. It is satisfying to do the move right, and can even fool yourself a little bit.

My goal for the remainder of the week is to practice, practice, practice. I want to be able to do the move with my eyes closed.

From Sight of Hand to Sleight of Hand – Day One of Becoming Magical

This week I began to practice learning close-up Magic for my EDTC 300 learning project. The experience is very different from any other school project I have ever done. So far, the experience feels more similar to practicing an instrument than to doing an assignment. The difference is refreshing, as this course if part of my final semester in my pursuit of an Education Degree.

I begin this journey to tap into the wonders of illusion with what is perhaps the simplest magic trick ever. A trick renowned by many a child as a special adult in their lives makes a coin disappear, and then suddenly reappear. As i practice, I am impressed by the dedication to the trick anyone who ever performed it for me must have had to pursue it. The technique is simple, but difficult to perform naturally. I found myself in front of the bathroom mirror, practicing it over and over without it looking very convincing. But I am not dismayed, rather I am convinced that this task will make for a worthwhile project.

The medium with which I am learning about the trick is YouTube. I watched a few videos by various youtubers but found this video to be the easiest to follow, whilst being brief enough that it could be viewed multiple times efficiently. The youtuber, who goes by the screenname TheRussianGenius, uses very clear and precise language as well as a variety of speeds when performing the trick. He also uses  a camera angle very similar to what you would be seeing as you are performing the trick.

My goal for the upcoming week is to be able to perform this trick convincingly enough to fool someone, or at least amuse them. At this moment I intend to move to card tricks as my fingers become more dexterous.

That’s about all there is to say at the moment. I am excited to see where this goes.

Bye for now.

Jonah Norman-Gray